By: Jolie Featherstone
Ariane Louis-Seize’s feature film directorial debut, Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person, is an intriguing horror-dramedy that has the makings of a cult classic. Think gothic Wes Anderson, or Richard Ayoade’s Submarine (2010) meets Tomas Alfredson’s Let The Right One In (2008).
Sasha (Sara Montpetit, Maria Champdelaine) is the black sheep of her family. You see, she is the youngest of a family of vampires. Her family are classic vamps: they feed off humans, they drink blood, and they have no qualms about it. Sasha, on the other hand, is…a little different. She feels so much empathy for others, she is appalled by the blood-sucker way of life and cannot bring herself to kill someone. She lives with her family where her parents hunt and provide her with blood ‘baggies’ from their victims. Her caring father feels for her, but her mother grows frustrated with the bulk of the hunting work. When her parents force her to leave home to learn how to hunt, she finds a kindred connection with a local teenage boy, Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard), who is dealing with suicidal ideation.
Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person starts out with a killer (no pun intended) opening that sets the stage for the film’s whimsical, darkly quirky tone. The art direction and sets bring the moody, inky world to life, with a dash of the aforementioned Wes Anderson-esque whim that keeps it from feeling too fraught. As Sasha, Sara Montpetit oozes goth girl cool. Her demure demeanour recalls 90s era Winona Ryder. Félix-Antoine Bénard is also a great fit for Paul. He looks like the animated male lead of a Tim Burton film came to life. He brings Paul’s fatalistic life view into focus without taking it over the top.
Stylish and hip, Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person calls to mind cult classics and beloved genre-benders. Though the subject matter is…not light…the deadpan comedy blends well with the drama and horror elements of the film. The film ushers in Ariane Louis-Seize as an exciting new voice in Canadian cinema.
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Jolie Featherstone: @TOFilmFiles